Travel the globe. Passport not required.


This concierge knows all too well that travels aren’t always carried out as planned. Holidays get postponed or occasionally canceled altogether due to work requirements, a personal injury, or family members needing care. Sometimes life’s circumstances lead us to being homebound. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t travel while staying local. Quite the contrary! We can create a vacation experience at home with ease and delight. All types of households can build a “travel itinerary” without leaving their local area.

Let’s focus on those households with kiddos. If children are underfoot, this is a great summertime activity to feed curious minds and learn about different cultures. First, pick a few locations across the globe that would be interesting for the family to “visit.” Keep in mind, this activity can be focused on different parts of the world or closer to home too (like a study of one’s own homeland). Choosing the destination is part of the fun because you can travel anywhere you want. Now, once you have confirmed where you want to go, decide how you would like to explore the location. Create a file or digital folder (perhaps plan a family picnic to study the country of interest) and research what activities can be found locally that celebrate the chosen destination. Finally, get to traveling in your own hometown.

Looking for inspiration? Let’s peek at one family’s activity agenda as they “travel” to a few different corners of the world. Keep in mind that young explorers enjoy a diverse set of activities, so vary recreational pursuits to keep the experience fresh. This particular family worked to incorporate both food and local cultural festivals into each new worldly experience as that was important to them. They then added a few unique experiences with each new locale. Still yearning for more ideas? Concierge recommendations have also been added so each household can create a journey based on personal interests.

Visiting Italy: Where is the best Spaghetti Bolognese? Try the dish every time you visit an Italian restaurant and/or attend an Italian Food Festival. Learn a new language together by listening to a foreign language tutorial during car rides. Try playing a board game in that country’s language. Check out some books at the local library to learn about the country’s distinct topography or how the local children live. Color a wall sized map and decide what landmarks look interesting. Take a gondola ride. Many places outside of Venezia, Italy have these boat rides (California, Colorado, Nevada, and Indiana to name a few). Gondolier singing optional! Artwork abounds as Italy is the birthplace of the Renaissance. Make some popcorn or a caprese salad and enjoy an inbound afternoon with virtual visits to museums. Do you have budding artists in the family? Take an art class. If artwork doesn’t sound appealing, learn about Leonardo da Vinci and all his fun inventions. Make a catapult like this inventor and aim for fun during a family craft day.

Trekking through Asia: Where are the best dumplings? Order several different kinds! Attend a traveling Chinese Opera performance, a Dragon Boat Festival or Japanese Cultural Festival. Have tea in a Japanese tea house. Visit the local botanical gardens or art museum’s Asian areas. Eat every meal with chopsticks for a full week! Try hibachi or sushi for the first time. Find a local Asian market and explore new groceries or fashions. Sign up for a real-time journey to another country via computer platforms that connect you with locals to shop or learn a regional cooking technique (all from the comfort of your own home). Learn about the different flags in Asia and color them for display. Visit the local zoo or animal sanctuary and observe the animals native to the region.

Exploring Greece: What restaurant has the best souvlaki? Try a variety. Visit a local Greek Orthodox Cathedral to learn more about the religious side of the culture. Learn about the first Olympics or Greek Gods. Many popular children’s movies have Greek historical characters in the theme. Attend a local Greek Festival and soak in the music and dancing. Toga party time! Dress in togas for dinner, eat on chaise lounges, and feed each other grapes! Make an olive and feta tray or find a new cultural snack and take a virtual country visit via a travel channel. The local Imax theater should also be consulted as they often have productions that showcase this country as well as others.

Phew, such travels! What an adventurous summertime this family experienced! As the summer concluded, they relished in a final picnic where they packed some delicacies from each “place” they “visited” and unpacked their favorite experiences. They also reflected on the journeys and decided what they may like to try again (learning Italian during car rides, The Dragon Boat Festival and Greek appetizers). An enjoyable summer was had without packing a suitcase or stamping a passport and these young travelers can still be heard saying words like “grazie mille” or found munching on Greek olives and Japanese mochi.

“We learned so much that summer and had lots of fun in our own back yard (somewhat counterintuitively) being international explorers.” – Hotels to Home, page 85

Enjoying life solo or in an adult oriented household? Traveling the globe from home isn’t just for the kiddos! One parent enjoyed this activity so much so that the experience was resurrected after the children moved out of the home. Another adult, returning from university and looking for an interesting way to bond with family, planned monthly dates with mom to explore new cultures. I believe they had a focus on cooking regional delicacies and watching a coordinating foreign film.

Stay tuned as we explore the more grownup version of traveling without a passport . . . and add a dash of global living to domestic days.

Travel. Always.

The Concierge